The Hastings College Jazz Festival is an opportunity for middle and high school jazz bands to perform on campus and work with outstanding jazz clinicians from across the country. The Festival culminates with a concert that features the jazz artists, the College’s Jazz Band and other guests.

For 2020, Sean Bell (trombone), Dr. Bobby Fusion (saxophone) and Dr. Jesse McBee (trumpet) will serve as clinicians and work with students to improve their skills. (Bios for the clinicians are below.)

2020 Festival Details

  • Monday, April 6, 2020 (all day) – Bands perform and work with clinicians
    • French Memorial Chapel  (map)

Cost: $125 per band to participate in the Festival.

Deadline to register: March 15, 2020

For more information, contact Hastings College Music at 402.461.7448.

About the Artists

Trombonist and Jazz educator Shawn Bell’s omnivorous playing and writing have been called “soulful” and “captivatingly quirky.” Bell holds degrees in Jazz studies from Western Michigan University and Northern Illinois University. In 2011 his debut album Things Yet Unknown garnered significant critical praise. JazzTimes’s stated, “To find a young trombonist like Shawn with this level of command and virtuosity is amazing.” Bell’s new 2020 release, Trio, features a departure from traditional Jazz formats and song structures. Instead, Shawn draws on covers by R&B and Rock artists alongside original material that grooves rather than swings. Trio is available on all streaming and download platforms.

As an educator, Shawn operates Bell Tone Brass Lesson Studio in Omaha, Nebraska and is a sought after Jazz clinician throughout the region. Elements of his approach to leading large Jazz ensembles can be found in the 2016 book Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz: Volume 2. Additionally, Bell currently holds a position with Omaha Performing Arts as the teaching artist for the nonprofit organization’s Jazz Academy. This program seeks to increase the quality of Jazz education offered in the region by sponsoring in-school clinics, music educator workshops, and an honor ensemble for middle school Jazz students. In its pilot year, the program reached over 400 students throughout the Omaha metro area.

Saxophonist, composer, and arranger Dr. Bob Fuson was born in Corbin, Kentucky and raised in Frederick, Maryland. A product of public school band programs, he picked up the saxophone at age 10 and was soon performing with local jazz ensembles and honor groups.

He studied with Baltimore saxophonist Howard Burns, David Threlkeld of the University of the Cumberlands, and Dr. Paul Haar of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He studied jazz composition and arranging with Dr. Eric Richards and pursued additional studies with Jerry Coker and Donald Brown. In 2011 Bob was awarded a grant to study with world-renowned saxophonist Jeff Coffin of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band, and the Mu’Tet.

As a performer Dr. Fuson has played with big bands throughout the southeast. He is an original member of the London Jazz Orchestra (London, KY) and has performed with the Streamliners (Knoxville, TN). At UNL he performed in the Graduate Jazz Combo (Gradtet) and the Jazz Orchestra, ensembles which have garnered national praise and reviews, including awards in Downbeat, the KU Jazz Festival, and the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. He appears on the UNL Jazz Orchestra albums Homegrown (2012) and The Good Life (2017).

Performances include concerts and masterclasses with George Stone, Harry Allen, Bill Watrous, Antonio Hart, Matt Penman,  Avishai Cohen , James Moody, Greg Abate, Rex Richardson, Gary Smulyan, Zim Ngqwana, Jeff Coffin, Scott Wendholt, Clay Jenkins, Andy Classen, Hans Sturm, Chris Vadala, Mike Tomaro, and Jamey Aebersold. In 2009 he premiered “White Noise” by Australian composer Ralph Hultgren as principal saxophonist with the Kentucky Intercollegiate Band. His other premieres include the debut of “Treelines” commissioned by Christine Jensen and premiered with the composer and her sister, acclaimed jazz artist Ingrid Jensen, in 2011. He is sought after as an arranger and has arranged for numerous Kentucky high schools and the University of the Cumberlands & “Pride of the Kentucky Mountains” marching band.

He is a founding member of contemporary saxophone quartet TCBSQ, which recently premiered two new works at the NASA Region III Conference in Brookings, SD in March of 2017. A never-heard-before arrangement from the Well-Tempered Clavier done for sax quartet by Percy Grainger, and a new work by Daniel Baldwin titled “Vortex” filled out the inaugural performance of TCBSQ.

His compositions have been published by UNC Jazz Press and premiered by the University of Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, the University of Nebraska Small Jazz Groups, the University of the Cumberlands Jazz Ensemble, as well as his own quartets, quintets, and septets.

Dr. Fuson’s research is focused on the life and works of LeRoi Moore, saxophonist and co-founder of the Dave Matthews Band. He has lectured across the country on the saxophonist’s unique place in American music in a talk entitled “LeRoi Moore – the Unknown Titan of American Music.” His dissertation is a biography of the late saxophonist. It is the first and only academic document on Moore, making him the foremost researcher on the subject.

Dr. Fuson is the Instructor of Woodwinds at  Hastings College where he teaches all applied woodwinds, woodwind methods, and directs the jazz ensemble. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Studies with a related area in Music Theory from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as well as a Masters Degree in Saxophone Performance with an emphasis in Jazz Studies. Dr. Fuson also holds a Bachelors of Science in Music from the University of the Cumberlands. 

Dr. Jesse McBee is a jazz trumpet player currently based in Omaha, NE. He graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, the University of Louisville with a Master of Music in Jazz Performance and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Doctorate of Musical Arts. He is currently the Store Manager of Thompson Music, a professional brass shop in Omaha, NE, and also serves as an instructor at Iowa Western Community College. Prior to this, he was on faculty at West Virginia University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts. In addition to his work as a performer and educator throughout the Midwest, he has had the opportunity to perform and present at the Jazz Education Network Conference and the International Society for Improvised Music Conference.